95th Street Fall Fest Offers Family Fun

Pumpkin Spice and everything nice! Celebrate the new season at the 95th Street Fall Fest, Sat. Oct. 6, 12 to 3 p.m., Barraco’s Beverly parking lot, 2105 W. 95th St. From face painting for the kids to TVs tuned to college football games for the dads, it’s a guaranteed good time for the whole family. 

The event provides a platform for 95th Street businesses to promote themselves to area shoppers. Many of the stores are participating in or sponsoring the fest. 

Erin Ross, Executive Director of the 95th Street Business Association, said the fest is the perfect opportunity for residents to discover all that the 95th Street businesses have to offer. “Our businesses are excited to showcase their goods and services,” Ross said. “Residents can travel down 95th Street and explore our many shops.” The business community looks forward to welcoming area residents for an afternoon of celebration, she added. 

Don’t miss enjoying the Fall Fest pictures colored by local third grade students that will be displayed in many of the store windows. Students from Kellogg, Christ the King, St. Barnabas, Sutherland and Vanderpoel elementary schools were invited to participate in a coloring contest sponsored by the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA). Check out the art while browsing at your favorite shops.  

The Fall Fest offers a wide itinerary of activities: Live music by Bridget Cavanaugh and Garrett Degnan, arts & crafts and cookie decorating for kids, and a live animal show. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Football fanatic? Televisions inside the bar area will be tuned to live college games. 

This event is sponsored by 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, Sen. Bill Cunningham, Rep. Fran Hurley, Barraco’s, Beverly Area Planning Association, 95th Street Business Association, Christ the King Parish, 22nd District Police, Beverly Improvement Association, Beverly Ridge Homeowners Association and Smith Village. 

Registration Open for 10th Annual Beverly Hills Turkey Trot

Registration is now open for the 10th annual Beverly Hills Turkey Trot 5K Run and Family Walk, presented by CIBC Bank, on Sat., Nov. 24, 9 a.m. at Christ the King School, 9240 S. Hoyne Ave. Participants will have the opportunity to run or walk the beautiful tree-lined streets of North Beverly. Proceeds from the event will once again benefit the John McNicholas Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and the 19th Ward Youth Foundation.  

Runners and walkers of all ages and levels can register now for the 5K run or walk, Team Registration or the untimed Family Walk by visiting Those who register before Nov. 1 will be guaranteed a Beverly Hills Turkey Trot hooded sweatshirt. After Nov. 1, hooded sweatshirts will be available on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Registration and packet pick-up will also be available at CIBC Bank, 3052 West 111th St., on Nov. 16. Packet pick-up will be available at Running Excels, 10328 S Western Ave., Fri. Nov. 23. 

Registration fees are:  

5K run: adult (ages 20 and up), $35 advance, $40 race day; young adult (ages 19-14), $30 advance, $35 race day; and youth (ages 13 and under), $25 advance, $30 race day.
5K untimed walk: adult (ages 20 and up), $35 advance, $40 race day; young adult (ages 19-14), $30 advance, $35 race day; and youth (ages 13 and under), $25 advance, $30 race day.  

5K Untimed Family Fun Walk (limit 4 sweatshirts): $75 until Nov. 16, $80 starting Nov. 17. 

The 5K will be chip-timed on a CARA certified 5K course, while the family walk will be untimed. Runners will divided by age and gender according to CARA recommended guidelines, with awards given for each age group. All participants will receive a t-shirt and gift bag.  

“Over the last decade, the Beverly Hills Turkey Trot has evolved into an annual Thanksgiving weekend tradition,” said 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, founder of the 19th Ward Youth Foundation. “It is a really fun and exciting day and helps to fund two great causes. I hope all our residents are able to join us this year, or cheer on the more than 2,000 people expected to participate.”   

The 19th Ward and Original Pancake House – Beverly will host a pancake breakfast immediately following the race. Admission is $5 per person or $25 per family.  

The John McNicholas Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, also known as Live Like John, was founded in 2012 by North Beverly residents Ed and Ann McNicholas, after their son John passed away from a brain tumor at the age of 15. The Foundation began with a sole goal: to eradicate pediatric brain tumors. Since it began, the John McNicholas Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation has pushed for the advancements in the care and treatment of pediatric brain tumors by facilitating better coordination of information between patients and providers, improving the quality of life for patients, and funding specifically targeted pediatric brain tumor research and treatment options.  

The 19th Ward Youth Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports and hosts a wide variety of safe, healthy, educational activities for children in Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood. All programs are made available at little or no cost to participants and are intended to help children and teens make new friends and stay active in the 19th Ward community. Events include the Easter Egg Hunt, Children’s Film Festival, Holiday Dodge Ball Tournament, Summer Movies in the Park, Family Ice Skating Party, Pumpkin Patch, and support to countless community causes. 

For more information on the 10th annual Beverly Hills Turkey Trot 5K, visit or call 773- 238-0288. 

BAPA Events Build Community Spirit, Attract New Neighbors

Although area residents best know the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) for our events, they don’t always realize that events are organized for purposes that align with the organization’s mission to sustain and enhance the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood.  

The Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour showcases beautiful homes to potential home buyers; the Ridge Run and Memorial Day Parade bring thousands of athletes and spectators to the historic district to show off the community’s rich architecture and outstanding lifestyle; and events like Family Fun Nights and the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic/Bikes and Brews Festival are designed to boost community connection.    

BAPA is involved with five upcoming events that are designed to bring customers to neighborhood commercial strips and foster shopping locally and to show off our spectacular architecture.  

Sip and Shop #2 

BAPA will be collaborating with the 19th Ward Office and Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association to present Sip n’ Shop Girls Night Out on Thurs., Sept. 20. Businesses in the train station districts at 99th and 103rd Streets will participate in the event that features special sales, beverage and food tastings, demonstrations and more from 6 to 9 p.m., and a BYOB after party from 9 to 11 p.m.  Admission of $10 in advance or $15 at the event covers the goodies and giveaways, and the first 250 people to sign up will get a free wine tote. Check in is at Calabria Imports, 1905 W. 103rd St., 6 to 8 p.m. 

Stores committed to participate include Belle Up, Beverly Barre, Beverly Yoga Center, B Sides Coffee, Cakewalk Chicago/Markland Hubbard, Capsule, Heritage Gallery & Gifts, New Beginning Alterations, Ohana Ice, RMH Design, Root, Sweet Freaks, The Blossom Boys, Turkey and Tranquility Salon. Buy tickets online at 

Fall Fest on 95th Street 

On Sat., Oct. 6, BAPA will team up with the 95th Street Business Association and 19th Ward Office to host Fall Fest on 95th Street. Participants will gather in the parking lot at Barraco’s, 2105 W. 95th St., for activities and entertainment. Televisions will be tuned to college games.  

Open House Chicago 

For the first time, Beverly/Morgan Park will be featured on the Chicago Architecture Center’s Open House Chicago, Sat., Oct. 13 and Sun., Oct. 14. Several neighborhood spots will be among more than 300 locations open for this popular – and free — city-wide event. Locations, which are not widely open to the public, are chosen for their architectural importance, historic value and outstanding interest. Among the neighborhood locations where visitors will get behind-the-scenes tours are the Optimo Hat Co., Morgan Park Academy Alumni Hall, The Castle, Wild Blossom Meadery and several more. 

BAPA and the 19th Ward Office are working with Open House Chicago to make sure the neighborhood is ready to welcome 1,000 or more guests from throughout Chicagoland for the two-day event. Area residents can help out as volunteers at the neighborhood locations. For information on how to volunteer and volunteer benefits, visit  

Tap Into BAPA 

Tap Into BAPA, our popular pub crawl, returns to Western Avenue on Sat., Nov. 10, starting at 3 p.m. Patrons age 21 and over will receive music, food and giveaways with their ticket, and drink specials for purchase at each location. Tickets are $25 in advance at or $30 on the night of the event. Join in at any location for an evening filled with community spirit.  

Holiday Cookie Crawl  

BAPA invites area families to sweeten up the spirit of the season at the 3rd Annual Holiday Cookie Crawl on Sat., Dec. 8. Just purchase a souvenir tin from BAPA, then spend the afternoon filling it with a variety of cookies and treats from participating businesses. Make sure you take time to shop where you stop, and support the businesses that support our community.  

Keep up with event details at, in The Villager or with The Villager Weekly Report enews. Info: 773-233-3100 or Founded in 1947, BAPA is a community-based not-for-profit organization located at 1987 W. 111th St. and supported in part by donations from area residents and businesses.  

Commercial Property at 95th and Western to be Renovated

The commercial center at the southeast corner of 95th and Western Avenue will be redeveloped into a $7 million reconfiguration project starting this year. Under this plan, the now vacant building at 2347-2353 W. 95th St. will be demolished. The existing building, vacant since the departure of Potbelly Sandwich Works, will be a smaller, newly constructed commercial building that will house a mix of new and existing tenants including a dental clinic, an upscale salon, and other health related users.  

Following the demolition of the corner building, the parking lot will be reconfigured allowing for 18 additional spaces as well as a new access point from 95th Street. This construction is expected to create approximately 40 jobs.  

The development is currently leased at near capacity. Secured tenants include Addus Healthcare, Aspen Dental, AT&T and Sola Salon with two small retail spaces currently available.  A letter of intent is currently signed with a sandwich shop for one of the two available locations. 

“The modifications that will be made to the existing building on the corner of 95th and Western will help to ensure an easier access to the businesses located within the development, as well as the addition of much-needed parking spaces,” said 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea. “It will also bring in well-recognized businesses that have a strong existing customer base for our residents to enjoy. My office looks forward to working with the developer and the tenants to ensure their success moving forward.”  

The project is expected to be completed in spring or sooner.  

“The 95th Street Business Association is looking forward to the implementation of the new design for the building at 95th and Western,” said Erin Ross, president, 95th Street Business Association.  “The changes will make this parcel an integral part of our business district on 95th Street.” 

“We are happy to be able to reposition the asset in a strong retail corridor with nationally recognized tenants,” said Steve Panko of Key Development Partners. “This corner will always be desirable.” 

For leasing information, contact Pam Miszkowicz or Lynn Bracket, CBRE, 630-573-7000. For more information on 95th Street development, contact the 19th Ward office, or 773.238.8766. 

O’Shea Named President of Special Olympics Chicago

Matt O’Shea has been named president of SCC/Special Olympics Chicago (SOC). O’Shea has served on the Board of Directors of SCC/Special Olympics Chicago since 2015. 

As president, which is a volunteer position, O’Shea will be responsible for overseeing the operations, fundraising efforts and corporate sponsorships to support Special Olympics Chicago programs and events. He will also be responsible for continuing to increase the awareness of the organization to the public, as well as assisting in recruiting new athletes and growing the program in the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park District.  

O’Shea is the Alderman of the 19th Ward which is home to hundreds of athletes with disabilities who attend the Mt. Greenwood Park Special Recreation program and the Chicago Agricultural High School for the Sciences. O’Shea has been one of the top fundraisers for the Chicago Polar Plunge, the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, diving into the icy waters of Lake Michigan each March since the event began in 2000. He is also an avid runner, participating on the Special Olympics Chicago Marathon team for several years and in the Midway Fly Away 5K each September since it began five years ago.  

“I am truly honored to be appointed as president of this incredible organization that changes the lives of thousands of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, each and every day,” said O’Shea. “Special Olympics has been incredibly important to myself and my community over the last several decades. I have seen first-hand how the organization strives to provide memorable experiences for our athletes. As president, I will continue the work of my predecessors and will focus on doing what is in the best interest of our athletes.”  

More than 7,500 athletes are involved in the Special Olympics Chicago program. 

Special Olympics was founded in Chicago at Soldier Field on July 20, 1968, and has since become a world-wide organization with nearly five million athletes in over 170 countries. Last month, Chicago became the epicenter of a nearly week-long celebration in honor of the organization’s 50th Anniversary. Activities included the first-ever unified cup tournament, a star-studded concert featuring Chance The Rapper, a Global Day of Inclusion, and the dedication of a Special Olympics Eternal Flame of Hope at Soldier Field.
A lifelong 19th Ward resident, O’Shea lives in West Beverly with his wife Cara, and his children, Brigid, Patrick and Eileen.  


Midnight Circus in the Parks Coming in September

Midnight Circus in the Parks is coming to Ridge Park for four shows on Sept. 29 and 30. The event features a thrilling high-flying assortment of acrobats, aerialists, clowns, contortionists and even a dog. Ridge Park, located at 96th and Longwood Drive, is one of nine Chicago Park District Parks that will showcase the Midnight Circus under a little big top tent this summer and fall.  

Mary-Jo Viero, President of the Ridge Park Advisory Council (RPAC), said the circus’s presence is a huge win for the neighborhood and credits Ald. Matt O’Shea with bringing it to Ridge Park. Midnight Circus in the Parks performed at Mt. Greenwood Park in 2011.  

Proceeds from the local shows will be used for improvements at Ridge Park. Earlier this year, the house received a new roof and new windows are slated for later this year.  

Volunteers with RPAC are working to promote the shows and sell ads in the program book, which will be distributed at all 28 performances across the city, allowing advertisers to reach a wide audience. The deadline to submit ads is Aug. 25. For information, contact Viero, Sponsorship opportunities are also available. 

Midnight Circus in the Parks is an eclectic ensemble of artists that brings world class contemporary circus performances to communities throughout Chicago. Since 2007, the shows have drawn over 100,000 attendees and raised over $1 million for local park improvements.  

Midnight Circus will perform two shows each day Ridge Park, 2 and 5 p.m. General admission, $22; groups, $20; and children under age two, free. Tickets and information:

Taxpayer Advocates Help Homeowners Save on Property Taxes

As the City of Chicago is rolling out its triennial reassessment this year, local property tax appeal firm Taxpayer Advocate Group (“TAG”), is celebrating its 10 year anniversary of helping Cook County homeowners pay the lowest possible tax bill.   

Born out of the financial crisis, TAG was founded at a quaint Irish pub by mortgage bankers Jason Terrell, TAG’s president and Certified Illinois Assessing Officer, and his West Point grad co-founder. As self-funded entrepreneurs, “It’s been fun to experience our progression,” Terrell said. “When we started the company we were using static files and excel spreadsheets; now it’s all cloud computing technology allowing us to identify saving opportunities instantaneously.”  

Xpress Tax Appeals is innovative software that TAG developed to challenge the County’s assessment of a residential property and to streamline the Cook County tax appeal process. Terrell explained that the County taxes your property by first assessing its value.  That base value, along with the state equalizer and tax rate, is used to calculate property taxes.  Due to the large volume of real estate parcels in Cook County, the Assessor’s Office calculates a property’s assessed value by using a mass appraisal method.   

“This model often allows for unequal treatment of property.” Terrell said. “TAG appeals your taxes by identifying the County’s inequitable assessment of your property and then by filing a property tax appeal.  By filing an appeal, a homeowner is requesting a more just and fair assessed value. Lowering the assessed value means homeowners will effectively save on their property taxes.” 

On July 27, Beverly/Morgan Park residents and other Lake Township homeowners are expected to receive their reassessment notices. 

“Unfortunately, if these reassessments are like the 2018 North Side reassessments that have already been sent to property owners in Lakeview and Rogers Park, you can expect to see a large hike in your assessment. Some properties have seen increases up to 40%,” Terrell said.  July 27 marks the beginning of a 30-day window in which residents of Lake Township will be able to file an appeal. 

The strongest argument a homeowner can make in the appeal process is “lack of uniformity” – an argument that the property is being over-assessed as compared to properties with similar characteristics (i.e. neighborhood, construction type, age, etc.).   

Although it’s most advantageous to appeal in the reassessment year, homeowners have the right to appeal their property taxes every year, as newly sold comparable properties or other changes in a neighborhood could provide another opportunity for a successful reduction.    

The tax appeal process is complex and fraught with paperwork and deadlines. TAG is committed to giving homeowners peace of mind by meeting the challenges posed by the County and by ensuring that assessed values remain as low as possible.  In addition, there are no upfront fees for the service and there is no charge if the appeal is unsuccessful. 

TAG is no stranger to the Beverly/Morgan Park area. Operations manager Justin Sipich grew up playing baseball at Kennedy Park and lived on 107th Street where his family still resides. Sipich, along with TAG property tax analyst, Alex Coston, graduated from Morgan Park Academy. Because of their affinity for the community and its residents, TAG is a BAPA business member and a sponsor of BAPA’s 16th annual Bikes & Brews Cycling Classic on July 20.   

TAG looks forward to helping community residents achieve the lowest possible property tax.  Visit by Aug. 31, 2018 for a 20% discount on their services. 

Special Recreation in Mount Greenwood Gives Back

By Kristin Boza

With the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics is this July, the participants in the Special Recreation program at Mount Greenwood Park are gearing up for the competition while maintaining their mission of giving back to the community. 

The program serves children and adults with intellectual disabilities in the Chicagoland area, and currently has 115 participants ranging in age from 7 to 65, according to Special Recreation Coordinator Lisa Mulcrone. Mulcrone has been a part of the program in some capacity for the last 27 years, beginning as a volunteer when her sister, Sioban, was enrolled in the Special Recreation program. 

While the program accepts community volunteers to help out, the participants in the Special Recreation program have become great partners to other community groups as well. 

“We have volunteered by baking cookies at the Oak Lawn Ronald McDonald House, we assist BAPA with the Ridge Run and Home Tour, and we volunteer with Special Children’s charities in various jobs, such as assisting with 5K runs, the annual Duck Derby fundraiser, and the Polar Plunge, to name a few,” Mulcrone said.  

The Special Recreation group has been essential in helping BAPA with the Ridge Run by stuffing goody bags, handing out fliers along the race route, and passing out refreshments and finishing medals to the Ridge Run runners. 

Mulcrone and the team is especially looking forward to participating in the Special Olympics July 17 through 21 at Illinois State University in Bloomington, Ill. Athletes will compete in power lifting, track and field, gymnastics, swimming and bocce, according to Mulcrone.  

“We are extremely excited about being a part of the 50th Anniversary of the Special Olympics. We will be attending as a group, hoping to make it to the majority of activities that Special Olympics has planned,” Mulcrone said. “We compete year-round in 14 different Special Olympic sports.” 

To get involved as a volunteer with the Special Recreation program in Mount Greenwood, contact Lisa Mulcrone, To volunteer at a Special Olympics event, contact Eileen Guinane, 


Jazz-n-Q: Home-Grown Jazz with New Orleans Style

By Kristin Boza 

Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, 2017 W. 110th Pl., is holding its 3rd annual Jazz-n-Q event Sun., Jul. 22, 4 to 6 p.m. in the south courtyard of the church. Featuring Lance Loiselle, director of music at Beverly/Morgan Park Community Choir and Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, as well as a CPS elementary school teacher, and half of the members of his nationally-recognized band, the LowDown Brass Band, everyone in the community is invited to partake in free BBQ and delightful music on a pleasant Sunday. 

The LowDown Brass Band offers an exciting take on New Orleans-style jazz, featuring trumpets, trombones, saxophones, drums, and a sousaphone. Loiselle says he first became interested in New Orleans brass band music while still in high school after a friend had him listen to The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, a New Orleans-based group.  

“I was blown away with how they could improvise, sound so funky, and combine all these great styles of music — but that is the sound of the music from New Orleans — it’s the great melting pot because so many cultures intersect,” he said. “I was already interested in jazz music through playing the piano, but this combination of sounds and energy just blew my mind.”  

As Loiselle entered college, he became even more obsessed with the signature sound. After graduate school, he started the LowDown Brass Band. Through annual visits to New Orleans, Loiselle has cultivated friendships with musicians and performed there several times.  

Loiselle is not surprised that he made a career out of music; his mother, Frances Loiselle, was the biggest musical influence in his life. “I followed her passion for teaching and directing, and to this day I carry her legacy through [my work],” he said. “I advise aspiring musicians to be patient, put in the work, and never give up.” 

Learning music is not easy, especially in an ‘instant gratification’ environment, according to Loiselle. “So many kids … don’t have the patience for things they aren’t good at immediately,” he said. “With learning music, you need to be patient and put in the work to get better as a player through practice, lessons, and playing with others. Remember, in the arts or with your dreams, if you quit, that is when you lose. Surround yourself with people who are better than you and will challenge you to be better.” 

Last year, Jazz-n-Q drew a crowd of nearly 100 people, and more are expected this year. “The people are super friendly and fun; the community loves the camaraderie and the free food doesn’t hurt either!” Loiselle said. “It’s a community event for everyone; just bring a chair and sunscreen, sit out on the lawn, eat some great BBQ and listen to world-class jazz musicians.” 

Loiselle will also be selling his latest CD at the event; ‘Sound’ is a collaboration with former Mt. Carmel Dean of Students the Rev. “Padre” Benjamin Aguilar, O. Carm. “‘Sound’ is an interesting yet dark portrayal about teenage bullying. It was super fun to make and collaborate with Padre Aguilar, and I am really proud and blessed with this opportunity,” he said. All proceeds from the sale of the CD will be donated to the music program at Morgan Park Presbyterian Church. 

To stay up-to-date on the event as it approaches, visit 

Guide to Planning the Best Block Party

By Kristin Boza 

Summer is here and so is block party season. Block parties are great ways to foster camaraderie among neighbors. If you’ve never planned a block party before, or if you need some fresh ideas, use this step-by-step guide to plan the ultimate Beverly/Morgan Park block party. 

Step 1: Set a Date and Get a Permit. Survey your neighbors to determine the best date for the party; most take place on a Saturday afternoon to evening. Block parties must have a permit so that the city can block off the streets so revelers can eat, drink, and play. Permit applications are available at the 19th Ward Office website at  

Step 2: Collect Money. Start by drafting a budget. Figure out if you want to use the funds to pay for a meal (like trays of chicken) and what type of entertainment you will provide. Also consider setting aside some money for game or raffle prizes. Since families come in all shapes and sizes, think about setting a price per child and per adult. Many blocks ask for $5/child and $10/adult. 

Step 3: Ask for Help. Rround out your food options by making a potluck list. Ask neighbors on one side of the street to bring a dessert and those on the other side to bring a side dish. Encourage everyone to bring a cooler of their own drinks, which will also cut down on costs. Recruit neighbors to bring their tables and chairs for setting up food tables; if everyone brings one, you won’t have to rent any, which can get expensive. 

Step 4. Plan Entertainment. Entertainment options are endless and depend on the ages of the people on the block. If there’s a ton of kids on your block, rent a bounce house. Just Kidding Around (773-414-5482 or and Nielsen Party Rentals (708-935-4184) are based in Mount Greenwood, and Big Mama’s Bouncy House is located in Evergreen Park (773-744-1712). Choose some music entertainment, too. If you’re on a budget, consider bringing out your own speakers and creating a playlist. If you have more money, hire a DJ for a few hours. DJ John Dreznes from Beverly Records is a popular choice for neighborhood gatherings; call him at 773.779.0066 . Another local DJ is Ruta Spencer; for info send an email 

Step 5: Create Kid-Friendly Activities. The bounce house will only contain the kiddos for so long. Plan some games to keep them occupied, and more often than not, these games can be run for free. Some possibilities: set up a craft table with stickers and markers, have a water balloon toss, create a scavenger hunt, hire a face painter, and once dusk settles in, engage in an ultimate game of Ghost in the Graveyard. Don’t forget the grown-ups! An egg toss competition can be a lot of fun! 

Step 6: Clean-Up. The street will be messy after the block party. Be sure to recruit volunteers to help pick up the trash and haul it to the alley, and be sure there’s plenty of trash receptacles strategically placed along the street to encourage people to use them. 

While they’re a lot of work for the organizers, block parties are intended to strengthen the community. Getting to know your neighbors is what Beverly/Morgan Park is all about.